August 4th, 2023
Establishing a Close, Collaborative Partnership Between Publisher and Vendor
In 2014, Unlimited Priorities, specialist consultants for scholarly publisher Accessible Archives (AA), were seeking a provider of COUNTER usage and analytics. Following a recommendation by a Director at NFAIS (now NISO), they contacted Scholarly iQ (SiQ).
Together, AA and SiQ built a working relationship that serves as a valued example of creating a trust centred partnership between a publisher and a selected specialty vendor.
In this article, we explore and share three key components which cemented the close-knit AA and SiQ team. This team ensured continued compliance with the evolving COUNTER standards, exemplary customer support, as already established by Unlimited Priorities, and shared best practices and innovations which would otherwise be unavailable to most scholarly publishers.
Trust in Expertise
AA required a vendor who not only provided COUNTER compliant solutions but also was an expert partner who truly understood and supported the standards and requirements. Established in 2003, SiQ has unrivalled experience in COUNTER services and compliance, staying at the forefront of latest standards and guidelines as well as representing AA interests in the development of the standards. This includes SiQ’s active participation in industry working groups including COUNTER, NISO and CrossRef.
Additionally, SiQ as a committed specialist for the provision of COUNTER reporting and analytics with full control over proprietary solutions, is able to ensure that AA reporting services continue to align with changing COUNTER requirements in a cost effective, scalable model shared across multiple publishers.
SiQ’s knowledge, compliance and product roadmap demonstrated to AA their commitment to delivering solutions that would continue to meet and lead the specific needs of the publishing industry. It also ensures long-term compliance and avoids the threat of hitting a brick wall should a third party application not be able to support any change stipulated by the industry standards.
A current example of this is COUNTER’s upcoming changes for v5.1, where the Item rather than the Title will become the unit of reporting. Through SiQ, AA is already fully compliant for the provision of Item Master Reports meaning AA can be confident in continued compliance following this change. Other publishers will need to check their vendor’s status at the COUNTER Registry and either seek assurances or make plans to change vendor before v5.1 comes into effect at the beginning of 2025.
An Entente Exceptionnelle: Three Components
Firstly, the foundation for the relationship between SiQ and AA was transparent communication. With open lines of communication, including direct contact with SiQ CEO Gary Van Overborg, both parties aligned to collaborate as partners rather than transactional entities.
This fostered a true partnership, inviting input from both sides whilst valuing the expertise and insights both SiQ and AA brought to the table. Through open channels and an environment of mutual respect and cooperation, SiQ and AA leveraged each other’s strengths for mutual benefit and customer satisfaction.
Secondly, SiQ’s rapid response and dedication to customer support meant that AA could rely on SiQ as closely as an internal team within AA, more akin to a single organisation than an external vendor. The tight working relationship created trust in reliability. A consistent, proven track record of delivering on promises ensured fast resolutions where a less responsive approach would have frustrated and hindered success.
Finally, the commitment between SiQ and AA raised free, open communication about issues, challenges, performance, evaluation and improvement. Bypassing bureaucratic procedures so often enacted by vendors, encouraged direct collaboration, and through this faster issue resolution, product development and end customer satisfaction – a true win–win–win.
Working with over 35 scholarly publishers and supporting over 200,000 librarian users, SiQ has been able to leverage over 20 years’ experience to develop solutions and best practices that enhance service value and experience for both AA and AA’s librarian customers.
For AA one of the key advantages SiQ brought to the partnership was extensive experience in working with similar customers in scholarly publishing. SiQ’s comprehensive understanding of the challenges, pain points and best practices proved invaluable from the very start, including the initial implementation:
"I have been in this industry for a very long time and I can say without qualification, never have I worked with a team that made the implementation of a project as easy as you have – everyone was a pleasure to deal with, you were uniquely sympathetic to our situation, you worked through all of our challenges with us to come to mutually agreeable solutions – this has truly been amazing.President, Unlimited Priorities LLC
I would be delighted to act as a reference for you at any time – your team is first class all the way – and very patient – helpful when dealing with the ‘slower’ learning school. Thanks so much for everything!!!!"
Once implemented, mutual confidence reinforced and COUNTER compliance covered, AA were able to benefit from SiQ’s trusted advice to tailor best practices, custom reports and insights and use the flexibility of SiQ’s technologies to drive further evidence-based decisions from trusted, transparent data. The combination of established experience in understanding publisher challenges and opportunities across both SiQ and AA teams working closely together fostered growth and development for both organisations.
For librarians, the AA COUNTER reporting portal provides seamless access to their own COUNTER usage data in an increasingly intuitive and engaging environment. With optimised performance, help wizards, comprehensive documentation, free monthly librarian training sessions and in-built quick wins to pivot between COUNTER Standard and Master Reports, the AA COUNTER reporting service makes it easier for AA customers to access and manage their usage data.
"After giving myself a crash course and learning how the process worked I came to appreciate how straightforward the Scholarly iQ site is, especially compared to others I had to work with. In fact, my first successful SUSHI download was from Scholarly iQ.
I have used the Scholarly iQ site with other providers and have been pleased. I also appreciated the quick support I received from both Accessible Archives and Unlimited Priorities in response to my questions."
Electronic Resources Manager, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries
Additionally, SiQ’s direct customer support has provided AA with the confidence that their librarian customers are treated with the same exemplary service and response times as they would expect from the Unlimited Priorities team. Prompt and helpful assistance from SiQ further builds trust in AA’s commitment to their own customer satisfaction, contributing to a positive subscriber experience and reinforcing loyalty to AA.
"I’m truly impressed! Usually I fire off these emails and (because of time differences) expect a reply back next day. Not only have you replied, but you’ve fixed the problem, within a couple of hours! You’re all wonderful … thanks very much!"
Cataloguer, Collection Services, Massey University Library
The SiQ team was to be an extension of the AA customer service, so a mutual value of customer focus and extreme responsiveness was a keystone of communicating a seamless, singular customer-led service.
Building a close, collaborative partnership between publisher and vendor requires an open trust-centred working relationship whereby both organisations align to not only mutually benefit but also bring advantages to end users. By leveraging specialist, dedicated services from vendors committed to and invested in the provision of these services, publishers like AA can ensure long-term solutions matching their evolving needs, receive and deliver exceptional customer service and benefit from the experience and expertise of a team which would otherwise be unavailable for a single publisher.
Ultimately the SiQ–AA relationship enhanced collaboration, improved performance, drove innovation and leveraged collective strengths to deliver a better service and experience for all parties. Whether you are a publisher or vendor we encourage you to consider how well-matched and trusted your valued business relationships are, and how they may better support each other.
About Accessible Archives, Inc®
Accessible Archives employs a team of digital technology and conversion specialists to deliver vast quantities of archived historical information, previously only available in microform, hard copy, or image-only formats. Our databases, containing diverse primary source materials such as leading books, newspapers, and periodicals, reflect a broad range of perspectives across 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century America.
About Unlimited Priorities LLC®
Unlimited Priorities LLC utilizes its highly skilled group of professionals to provide a variety of support services to small and medium-sized companies in the information industry. The Archival Initiatives Division (AID) offers practical consultative services to libraries, historical societies, and associations. AID provides advice and assistance in archival content selection, rights ownership, project management, workflow analysis, production, distribution of converted content and interaction with commercial entities. By coordinating a library’s project requirements with commercial firms’ interests, Unlimited Priorities creates an atmosphere of mutual cooperation while organizing a successful process at a reasonable cost.
About Scholarly iQ
Celebrating 20 years, SiQ provides unrivalled expertise for trusted usage analytics. SiQ’s fast, easy, platform independent implementation delivers valued data insights to customer, sales, editorial, marketing and partner stakeholders. Questions about COUNTER, Open Access, Impact, Data or wider Business Intelligence? Trust SiQ to have you covered.